Experts have expressed concern that parents will look to ‘cash in’ on a weight loss scheme for Dubai youngsters, according to a report in 7Days newspaper.
A total of AED2.8 million ($762,309) in gold was handed out to slimmers last summer as part of the ‘Your Weight in Gold’ weight-loss initiative, which has been launched again this year, but this time the focus is on child obesity. A total of AED150,000 is being sponsored for this year’s initiative.
Entitled ‘Your Child in Gold’, Hussain Nasser Lootah, head of Dubai Municipality, said this year’s scheme is aimed at children who are piling on the pounds as a result of spending too much time in front of the TV or on computers.
He said schools must play their part in tackling child obesity, with more exercise programmes.
“Kids are staying in front of the TV and on the computers,” Lootah was quoted as saying.
“There is no exercising in schools. Before there was always at least one class but now a lot of schools have eliminated exercise. There are so many elements affecting kids nowadays, it’s not like the old days.”
Individual entries will get 1g of gold for each kilo lost, but with the focus on families, each participating family will win 2g of gold for every kilo lost by an active member. Families can participate with kids up to the age of 13.
Speaking to 7Days newspaper, two nutritionists expressed concern about the scheme, saying parents may just push for weight loss just for the gold.
Andrew Picken, owner of Bespoke Wellness, told 7Days: “It’s a bit sad. You should lose weight for yourself not to fill up your bank. I wouldn’t be interested in gold if I was a kid.”
Another Dubai-based nutritionist said that rewarding of gold to children is not the best way to motivate them to lose weight.
Nasha Sarkari told 7Days: “Children will not be interested in gold. If you want them to participate give them a year’s pass to Wild Wadi or an adventure park.”
The campaign runs from July 15 to September 1. Registrations can be made at thedmgold.com.